Another good thing has come out of the new Homelessness Reduction Act…
There has long been a duty for councils to house you if you are in priority need but intentionally homeless (for long enough to give you a reasonable opportunity to find other accommodation). And yes, if you were wondering, you did just read that correctly.
Some councils unlawfully said this time period was only a blanket 28 days without asking how long you would actually need to source alternate housing, based on your finances, support needs and the state of the local housing market. The principle at work here is surely good – if you’re vulnerable you’ll at least have a roof over your head whilst you try to find alternate housing, provided you do actually try.
Now, the Homelessness Reduction Act is rather convoluted to say the least, and the new ‘relief duty’ doesn’t actually require councils to house anyone (and yes, you did just read that correctly too).
But, if we’re reading it correctly (based on para 13.11 of the Guidance), it does mean that the existing duty to house people who are in priority need but intentionally homeless can’t actually start until the 56-day ‘relief duty’ has ended, which is surely a good thing – even if councils continue applying a blanket 28-day period at the end of the relief duty, it would give you at least 84 days in temporary accommodation, which gives you a much better chance of finding somewhere else to live.
And this means that if you are a professional, now is a very good time to refresh your understanding of priority need – parts 10&11 of the information videos on this site are a good a place to start as any.
As always, the information on this website is not a substitute for legal advice. Always get advice from a qualified solicitor if you’re affected by homelessness – homelessness is a legal issue as well as a social issue.